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Finding the right dentist for your family may seem like a challenge, but with so many qualified dentists in our area, you have many options. As with doctors and other service providers, you want a dentist you will feel comfortable with, to keep your family in good health. These tips can help you consider your specific needs ahead of time, so you know what to look for in a dental practice.

If you are looking for dental care in Greenville, South Carolina, call Carolina Oaks Dental Care to interview one of our friendly dentists. Call us today at 864-235-3949 for a meet-up with Dr. Marc Workman or Dr. Susan Maxwell.

Before You Search

Call Your Insurance Provider

Before you look at specific dental offices, check with your insurance provider for a list of in-network providers. Ask if you can see a dentist outside the network, and how coverage will be different if you do. This is an especially important step if you belong to a dental health maintenance organization (DHMO) since they tend to have much smaller lists of in-network dentists.

Big or small?

Decide ahead of time whether you like the idea of a small, family-oriented dentist that schedules one patient at a time or a larger dental office that sees more patients in the course of a day. If you like to get in and out of your appointments quickly during your lunch hour, with no fuss, you may be more comfortable with a larger dental practice. If you prefer more open-ended visits in which the whole staff can focus on you, look for a smaller practice.

Think About Accessibility

Your neighbor may give a glowing review of her dentist, but if the location and office hours aren’t compatible, it may not be right for you. How easily you can access your dentist can make a big difference in your ability to keep appointments.

Before you start your search, think about location. If you live and work in different locales, do you want to see a dentist that is near work, or home? Also think about hours of operation. Will you want to schedule your appointments on a certain day, or time of day? Or is your schedule more flexible? If either your schedule or mobility are limited, accessibility may be a critical factor in your choice of dentists.

Ask Your Community for Recommendations

If you’re starting your search cold, friends and acquaintances are your best resource for information. Ask everyone which dentist they see, and what they like about the practice. Keep in mind that your friends may value different things in a dentist, and there are tons of great dentists out there. If the dentists they recommend aren’t the most accessible to you, don’t hesitate to research dentists on your own.

The Right Relationship

You may only see your dentist every six months, but the time you spend together will be put to best use if you have a good relationship and can communicate easily. When you meet dentists, look for someone you can easily understand, and who seems to be an attentive listener. When you are interviewing dentists, bring a list of questions to ask (see suggestions below) and don’t be afraid to ask a curve-ball question to see how they react. The specific answers you get may not be as important as the sense of personality that shines through. You’ll know when you’ve found someone you like and trust.

In addition to the dentist, you also want to meet the dental hygienist, who you will actually spend more time with. Not only do hygienists perform the more routine interactions, like dental cleanings and fluoride treatments, but they also serve as your best resource for up-to-date information on all topics related to oral health. When you meet these people, ask yourself if you would be comfortable sharing personal information. Do they seem like they are interested in your comfort and well being?

If you have children, think about how they will feel in each environment. How will your children interact with each of the people you meet? Does the office seem child-friendly? Do they encourage parents to stay with their children during treatments? Do they provide distractions and supports to help kids sit still and stay comfortable during treatment?

Do Your Research

When looking at individual dentists, don’t be afraid to research them online. Your state’s professional licensing board can help you verify that your dentist is licensed and qualified, and sites like Yelp and Healthgrades can show you what other patients have to say about a specific practice.

Take a Holistic View

Your focus will be on finding a dentist whose skills and demeanor are compatible with your family’s needs, but you should also take a good look at the whole practice. Does the office function as a well-oiled machine? Are all staff friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful? Is the environment cheerful and clean? Inconsistent policies, high turnover, or confusion among staff may be a sign of dysfunction that can alert you of a less-than-professional establishment. Trust your intuition; if something feels off, you may encounter problems down the road.

Questions To Ask Your Dentist

  • How do you deal with dental anxiety?
  • What areas of dentistry do you specialize in?
  • How do you deal with active children, or shy children?
  • What’s your cancellation policy?
  • What was the best part of your education/training?
  • What are your office hours and days of operation?
  • How’s your dental technology?
  • How does your office handle insurance claims?
  • How long have you been in practice?
  • Will someone answer the phone if I have an after-hours emergency?
  • Do you text appointment reminders?
  • Who will perform the dental cleanings and fluoride treatments?
  • How’s your staff turnover?
  • Can I reach you or your staff by email?

Overall, there’s a wealth of qualified dentists in practice today. Think about your family’s needs, keep an open mind, and trust your gut to tell you when you’ve found a match. The most important part of dental care is keeping your appointments, so choose a practice that you’ll want to come back to.

If you are looking for dental care in Greenville, South Carolina, call Carolina Oaks Dental Care to interview one of our friendly dentists. Call us today at 864-235-3949 for a meet-up with Dr. Marc Workman or Dr. Susan Maxwell.

Dr. Carpenter

Author Dr. Carpenter

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